Paclitaxel is an anti-cancer drug that is used to treat different types of cancers in many patients. It works by inhibiting the division of cancer cells and hence stopping the growth of tumors.
It interferes in microtubule formation and therefore, it slows the growth of cancer cells and eventually kills them. Due to its mechanism of action, it is categorized as an anti-microtubule drug. It is used to treat solid mass tumors and advanced-stage cancers.
What are the cancers it is used to treat?
Paclitaxel is used to treat different types of cancer such as:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Pancreatic cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Cervical cancer etc.
Paclitaxel is one such drug that is used to treat several types of cancer. The doctor can elect when to use the drug if needed.
How is it administered?
Paclitaxel is only given via injection into the veins of the patients. There is no pill for paclitaxel. It is only administered through veins and requires a professional to do so. It is an irritant that causes inflammation of the veins.
Therefore, specialized professional medical staff should administer the injection by themselves. If you experience pain, redness or swelling immediately contact a doctor. Some allergic reactions are observed in patients and hence require taking medication.
What are the common side effects?
There are several common side effects of paclitaxel that are observed in patients with different types of cancer. These side effects are reversible and hence as the chemotherapy ends.
These side effects also fade away. There are many ways to reduce these effects. The severity of the side effects also varies depending upon the amount of drug given and its duration. Some of the common side effects of paclitaxel include:
- Rashes on skin
- Low blood platelets count
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Bleeding which leads to anemia
- Low blood pressure
- Feeling of warmth in the face, ears, neck, and behind the neck
- Hair loss
Consult your doctor if you experience these types of side effects. These symptoms of paclitaxel can be controlled with some medications and care.
What precautions should you take?
There are several things that you need to have in mind before going under paclitaxel chemotherapy. Some of these precautions are:
- Discuss with your doctor if you are suffering from any other medical conditions. If you take medicine for any other medical condition, then always tell your doctor about it. As it can hinder the mechanism of chemotherapy drugs.
- Do not take any vaccination of over-the-counter medicine while taking paclitaxel and always consult your doctor before taking any other medicine.
- Do not get pregnant or breastfeed while taking paclitaxel as a cancer treatment.